using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Buddhadharma : Fall 2007
buddhadharma| 17 |fall 2007 everybody’s abbot During a recent ceremony to mark becoming abbot of Providence Zen Center, Chong Won Sunim recalled his teacher’s poignant words about an abbot’s job. About ten years ago, I went to Logan Airport to pick up Zen Master Seung Sahn, who was flying in for a ceremony. Accompanying me was some- one who was just about to become an abbot. On the drive back from the airport, this person asked for some advice about being an abbot, and Zen Master Seung Sahn answered, “The abbot is everyone’s attendant.” That’s all he said. This has always stuck in my mind because it’s a very curi- ous thing to say. In temples in Korea, the abbot holds a very high position. When monks travel and arrive at a tem- ple, the first thing they do is go to the abbot’s room and bow to him three times. The abbot always gets the highest seat in the dharma room. He always gets very nice things. People give him nice clothes; he gets a nice big American car and someone to drive him around the city. And he also has many attendants. They wash his clothes and clean his big American car, and they bring him his food and everything. But Zen Master Seung Sahn said the abbot is everyone else’s attendant. This was actually his teaching style. He often had this practice of tak- ing Korean tradition and turning it upside down in order to teach Westerners. In Korea, only monks and nuns practice Zen and live in temples. Here in the West, we have monks, nuns, laymen, and lay- women all living together and practicing together. Also, we have laypeople wearing monastic cloth- ing, which is considered very strange in Korea. So he said the abbot is everyone’s attendant, which is also upside down. This points to his teaching that the abbot’s real job is to take away “I,” “my,” “me,” put down all of his likes and dislikes and just do what is best for the Zen center and for the sangha. From the ProviDenCe Zen Center newsLetter, June 2007. the Point of all this If you’ve been practicing for years, you should be seeing some results, says Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche. If you’re not, you may be missing the point. The result of spiritual practice should be our inner transformation into better human beings. After practicing for months or years, we should be less prone to anger, pride, and jealousy. Our practice should lead us to a vaster, calmer mind. For example, the whole point of dieting is to lose a few pounds, not to collect knowledge and become an expert on each and every diet. You may have heard about different diets and read many books, but you won’t lose weight unless you put one of them into practice in your everyday life. Similarly, if you do not implement the teachings, your destructive emotions and self-clinging will not diminish, and the dharma instructions will be of no use to you, no matter how many you receive. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche always placed great emphasis on the importance of merging our mind with the dharma and unifying the practice and daily life. Our aim should be to blend with the dharma in meditation and to carry the quality of the meditation into all of our actions. Dharma needs to become second nature. We are probably not integrating the practice into our lives if, after having practiced a lot, we remain just as angry as before – or even a little more so. Another indica- tion of a lack of integration is the absence of a sense of well-being. A genuine practitioner should at least become a good human being. You might feel that you have some control of the mind or have made some progress in your practice, yet as soon as difficulties confront you, the mental toxins overwhelm your mind with the same strength as before. If this happens, try to determine whether you are becoming a better being or not. Are you slowly getting free of the obscuring emotions? Are you enjoying the fulfill- ment of inner freedom? After years of practice, we should gain a sense of inner peace and become less vulnerable to outer circumstances. Masters such as Patrul Rinpoche experienced great joy and profound happiness as a result of their dharma practice. Inner freedom, relaxed and open happiness, and joy will arise when negative emotions and mental confusions disappear. In contrast, we will have missed the point of the practice if our mental poisons are still all-powerful, torment us constantly, and cause us to remain preoccupied with ourselves. From the great meDiCine that ConQuers CLinging to the notion oF reaLity, By sheChen raBJam. PuBLisheD By shamBhaLa PuBLiCations, 2007. anthonyruSSo